It was on the stormy night of the 20th of Lleian, year 0 AC, that Lemaen, the Exiled, found himself roused from his slumber, a recurring disturbance in recent times. Yet, it wasn’t the howling tempest outside that disrupted the ancient Syssin’s rest, but rather the torment of relentless nightmares. Wearied and sleep-deprived, he voiced his frustrations over the guild’s aether, imploring the late Manipulator for even one night of free from the God’s haunting intrusions into his dreams.
Alerted by his distress, the rest of the Syssin swiftly convened around their elderly mentor, bringing with them the comforts of kawhe to ease his fatigue. As Lemaen sought solace in the soothing beverage, he began to unravel the narrative of his recurring dream, sharing the vivid details of the vision that had been causing so many restless nights.
The dream that haunted Lemaen each night since the revelation of the Inheritance was always the same: ever and always, he found himself navigating the intricate corridors of the Spire of Artifice, each step driven by an unyielding purpose. Each time, he would arrive at the heart of the armoury where the imposing figure of the Lord Manipulator stood, as if untouched by death. In the dream, a wave of paralysing fear engulfed Lemaen as the God turned an implacable gaze upon him, issuing a command in just two words: “Show them.” Yet, as soon as the words were spoken, the dream always shattered, abruptly returning Lemaen to wakefulness. The clarity and purpose that so vividly guided him in the dream dissipated the moment his eyes opened, leaving behind only a profound sense of loss and unfulfilled destiny.
He had been relentlessly pursuing that dream since the first night, desperate to cling to any fragment that might further unravel its mystery. Hearing the tale, the Syssin grew increasingly convinced that the dream was intricately linked to the final orders of Severn the Manipulator – the revival of the ancient Executors. They suggested that Lemaen should venture to the very heart of his visions, the Spire of Artifice itself, to see if they might unearth further insights or clues in the waking world.
Upon entering the armoury of the Spire of Artifice, the group of Syssin, led by their mentor Lemaen, encountered an inexplicable phenomenon. Their vision began to blur, unfocused and erratic when attempting to look upon a specific area within the room. The more intently they tried to pierce through the haze, the more intense the visual distortion became – as if their very gazes were being deflected by an unseen, metaphysical barrier. As Lemaen endeavoured to push past the invisible obstruction, a sharp pain suddenly seized him, forcing him to his knees in agony.
Rather than continuing to force the issue, the Syssin opted for a more subtle approach: delving into the depths of the mind through hypnosis. Trusting in the expertise of Seurimas, the guild’s Director, Lemaen surrendered himself to the hypnotic process, hoping to unlock the elusive secrets of his dreams. Seurimas carefully guided Lemaen into a trance, then strategically echoed the Manipulator’s command: “Show them.” Under the spell of hypnosis, Lemaen’s body began to tremble uncontrollably, foam appearing at the corners of his mouth. Struggling against an invisible force, he managed to utter three disjointed words: “Qeddwyn – Ankyreans – EXECUTORS!”
The Syssin left Lemaen to recover from the ordeal and journeyed to Esterport to question Qeddwyn, the sole survivor of the Ankyreans. The encounter with Qeddwyn was fraught with tension; the Ankyrean was wary of the Syssin’s presence from the start. When they inquired about the Executors, Qeddwyn reacted with outrage, recalling the horrors of the past and expelling the Syssin from his shop. They left with only one clue – the unfamiliar term ‘ringblade.’
Back at the Spire, Lemaen alerted the guild that the armoury had changed, as if merely learning that new word was a trigger. The Artifice in the armoury dissolved, revealing an annular weapon in the previously unobservable spot a”the ringblade itself. Etched onto its surface was a riddle, providing the next vital clue in the labyrinthine mystery left by the Minotaur God: ‘In a place where truth and valour intertwine, where two noble brothers’ memories shine. Offer coins with a heart so bright, and secrets of shadow will come to light.’
Urlanti Virelen was the first to unravel the riddle after the Syssin dispersed worldwide in search of answers. She summoned her compatriots to the quaint village of Attica, notable for its longstanding church dedicated to the God of Truth, Lanos, and the God of Valour, Arion. The church was managed and founded by two brothers, Ruat and Onim, whose amalgamated names spelled ‘minotaur’ – their fake names a not-so-subtle hint at their true nature.
As Virelen and the other Syssin offered a generous tithe into the church’s donation box, the brothers wordlessly guided them to a concealed area beneath the church. Later revisits to the site revealed the church abandoned, the brothers vanished, and the secret passage nowhere to be found.
Beneath the church lay a vast, intricate labyrinth, fitting for the Minotaur God. The Syssin – Pietre, Aeryx, Jineva, Seurimas, Virelen, Inkh, Aliyah, Ehgat, Saea, Rizarith, and Fiwa – ventured into its convoluted pathways. It was Seurimas who solved the labyrinth with an alacrity befitting his station as the Syssin’s Director. His arrival at its exit triggered a transformation within the labyrinth, straightening its twisting paths into a singular route for his subordinates to follow after him.
At the labyrinth’s end, the Syssin discovered an ancient, abandoned temple dedicated to Severn, dominated by an imposing throne suspended over a vast window peering into the Shadow plane. Guarding the throne were two elite Minotaur guards, expressionless yet alert, each wielding a formidable ringblade with a deadly grace that belied their brutish forms. A fierce battle ensued, with the Syssin ultimately overcoming the guards and moving to investigate the throne.
Inscribed upon the throne was another cryptic riddle: ‘Where shadows loom and whispers bend, A journey’s start is oft its end. In depths unseen, a secret lies, Cloaked in the void beneath the skies. Trust in the path less clearly known, For through the window, the way is shown.’ This time the riddle was solved surprisingly fast after Saea took a sudden leap of faith from the suspended platform, disappearing into the smothering darkness below. Though initially caught by surprise at the young Syssin’s unexpected manoeuvre, the rest of the guild soon followed suit after confirming her safety.
Emerging from the void, they found themselves not within Czjetija, but instead in a more ancient and partially ruined temple of Severn. Working together, the Syssin cleared a path through the fallen debris to the inner sanctum, uncovering an age-old stone tablet bearing the words of Executor Adev Yae. The tablet revealed Adev’s contemplations on his life serving Severn as an assassin during the Ankyrean civil war and his quest for a new purpose amongst the people of Nuunva now that his duty to Severn was fulfilled.
With a new lead, the Syssin exited the temple, shocked to find themselves standing in the middle of the city of Bloodloch – a place hostile to many of them. Making a hasty departure, they journeyed to the frozen north into the quaint tundral village of Nuunva to seek out Adev Yae. When initial questioning of the local villagers turned up nothing, the Syssin surmised that their memories were likely altered by the Grand Artifice and began painstakingly hypnotising each villager one by one until, at last, they found the man.
Broken from his trance, his memories now reactivated, Adev Yae addressed the Syssin with an air of timeless confidence. Without preamble, he inquired what orders Severn had for him now that he was called back to service. While initially doubtful of Severn’s demise, Lamaen’s familiar presence convinced him of the truth. He expressed unwavering faith in Severn’s plans, believing in a grand scheme that would herald the God’s return. Though uncertain of their role in a greatly changed world, Adev Yae committed to teaching the Syssin the ways of the Executors.
Accompanying the Syssin to Spinesreach, Adev Yae commenced rigorous training sessions within their hall, imparting the ancient skills and knowledge of the Executors.
Penned by my hand on Closday, the 21st of Chakros, in the year 1 AC.